Lions rally, then survive against Kidder County
Linton-HMB took the lead for good early in the final period, but the Lions needed to halt a late rally by Kidder County and held on for a 59-58 victory over the Pirates in Steele on Jan. 18. Linton-HMB improved to 6-1 in District 6 and 10-3 overall, while Kidder County dropped to 5-6 on the season, including a 1-4 mark in the district.
Linton-HMB had to withstand a red-hot shooting performance by Kidder County from the field, and the Lion’s only lead (8-6) of the first half lasted less than forty seconds. Kidder County used an 8-0 run to open up a 14-8 lead late in the opening period before Brooks Flyberg cut the margin in half (14-11) with a three-pointer late in the period.
After Andrew Small put in a field goal for Linton-HMB on the opening possession of the second period, Kidder County ripped off 6 straight points over the next 1:30, and the Pirates completed a 10-2 run to open up their largest lead (24-15) with 3:50 left in the half. The Pirates still led by 7 points (28-21) after Ben Steinolfson put in a basket with 1:53 left, but Linton-HMB closed out the half with a 7-0 run, and Tyler Humann’s basket off a steal and assist by Jon Purintun deadlocked the game at 28-28 at the intermission.
Kidder County shot a sizzling, 72 percent (13 of 18) from the field in the first half, the Pirates committed 14 turnovers over the first two periods. Linton-HMB turned the ball over just 3 times in the first half, but the Lions shot just 33 percent from both the field (12 of 37) and the line (2 of 6) in the half. Cole Scherbenske (10), Steinolfson (8) and Zach Six (6) combined for 24 points for Kidder County, while Humann and Purintun led Linton-HMB’s attack with 11 and 8 points, respectively.
Kidder County never trailed during the third period, even though Linton-HMB was able to tie the game on four different occasions during the frame. Kidder County broke a 33-33 tie by going on a 9-3 run, and Scherbenske’s basket extended the lead to 42-36 with 3:40 left in the frame. However, Linton-HMB battled back, and Purintun scored 8 points to lead a 10-4 run to close out the period, before Flyberg put in a field goal at the third quarter buzzer to send the game into the final period deadlocked at 46.
Ryan Schneider’s coastto coast three-point play off a steal gave Linton-HMB its first lead (49-46) of the second half with 6:59 left, and the Lions would never lose the lead again. Schneider added a putback about a half minute later, and after Six hit a free throw for Kidder County, Humann barely beat the buzzer with a jumper that gave Linton-HMB its largest lead (53-47) with 5:15 remaining.
Kidder County would get no closer than 3 points until the final horn, and Humann hit another jumper to push the lead back up to 6 points (57-51) with 1:26 remaining. After each team misfired on free throw attempts on successive trips, Six drained a three-pointer to cut the deficit in half (57-54) with :35 left. Five seconds later, Flyberg sank a free throw to make it a two-possession (58-54) game, but the Lions blew a chance to extend the lead further when Schneider misfired on the front end of a bonus attempt following a Pirate turnover with :23 left.
Kidder County misfired on a three-point attempt on its ensuing trip, but Steinolfson swiped the offensive board and fouled on the putback attempt with :09 showing on the clock. Steinolfson missed the first attempt, but sank the second, and Flyberg was fouled immediately on the inbound, sending him to the line for two shots with :08 left. Flyberg missed the first shot, but sank the second to ultimately seal up the victory (59-55) for the Lions, and even though Sand drained a three-pointer with about :02 left on the clock, the Pirates were out of time outs, and time expired before Linton-HMB had to inbound the ball.
Linton-HMB shot 55 percent (12 of 22) from the floor and 56 percent (5 of 9) from the line in the second half, and the Lions finished 24 of 59 (41%) from the field and 7 of 15 (47%) from the line. Kidder County was shooting at a 68 percent (21 of 31) clip heading into the fourth period, but the Pirates hit on just 3 of 9 field goals in the final quarter, and finished at 60 percent (24 of 40) for the game. The Pirates held a 28- 24 advantage in rebounds, but Linton-HMB held a 10-5 edge in offensive rebounds, and Kidder County turned the ball over 19 times and hit on just 7 of 17 (41%) free throws, including just 4 of 12 (33%) in the final quarter.
Purintun led Linton-HMB with 16 points, and Humann, who fouled out late in the game, finished with 15 points and 3 steals. Flyberg (3 re- bounds) and Mason Ryckman (3 rebounds, 3 assists) netted 7 points apiece, and Schneider chipped in 6 points, 8 rebounds and 2 streals for the Lions. Only four players scored for Kidder County, but they were all in double figures. Steinolfson led the way with a game-high 18 points, Scherbenske netted 14 points, and Sand and Six tallied 13 points apiece.
Linton-HMB: Jon Purintun 16, Tyler Humann 15, Mason Ryckman 7, Brooks Flyberg 7, Ryan Schneider 6, Travis Baumiller 6, Andrew Small 2.
Kidder County: Ben Steinolfson 18, Cole Scherbenske 14, Ryan Sand 13, Zach Six 13.
3-Pointers: Linton-HMB (4-00): Ryckman 1, Humann 1, Purintun 1, Flyberg 1, Kidder County (3-00): Sand 2, Steinolfson 1. Fouled Out: Humann (L).